Most people would not classify Swahili amongst the more popular foreign languages to study. Although, at the time of this posting, there is not even a single discussion thread in this forum wherein the word “Swahili” appears in the title, this language has been referenced in well over 200 logs and blogs addressing other matters. The situation is quite similar on the HTLAL. There are a few discussion threads wherein which the study of this language is discussed; however, for the most part, the situation is similar to that of the LLORG: a bit of chatter, but no Swahili Profile and no list of Swahili Resources. The major online booksellers’ websites contain numerous short courses, phrase books, grammars, et cetera that I have not bothered to include in the list below.
Swahili, also known as Kiswahili (translation: language of the Swahili people), is a Bantu language and the first language of the Swahili people. It is a lingua franca of the African Great Lakes region and other parts of eastern and south-eastern Africa, including Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Mozambique, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Comorian, spoken in the Comoros Islands is sometimes considered to be a dialect of Swahili, though other authorities consider it a distinct language. The exact number of Swahili speakers, be it native or second-language speakers, is unknown and a matter of debate. Various estimates have been put forward and they vary widely, from 100 million to over 150 million. Swahili serves as a national language of four nations: Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, and the DRC. Shikomor, the official language in Comoros and also spoken in Mayotte (Shimaore), is related to Swahili. Swahili is also one of the working languages of the African Union and officially recognised as a lingua franca of the East African Community. South Africa legalized the teaching of Swahili in South African schools as an optional subject to begin in 2020. – Source: Wikipedia
Swahili language – Wikipedia
Mikonai’s Swahili Log
SGP’S Beyond Beginner’s Swahili Log
Why do so many people learn Swahili? – HTLAL – April, 2012
French vs Swahili usefulness in Africa? – HTLAL – July, 2007
Swahili Resources: GENERAL
There exists a fairly wide choice of introductory courses, guide books, phrase books, dictionaries, grammars, and the like for Swahili. I have listed what many members would recognize as the works of the better-known publishers of foreign language courses and study guides. In addition, there are a few remote publications that I found on the U.S. Government’s E.R.I.C. website. I am left with the impression that, by working with a selection drawn from the DLI/FSI, Assimil, and Living Language materials, along with a grammar, a conscientious independent-learner could acquire an A2-B1 level in Swahili on which to build through the astute use of native-language resources.
Swahili Resources: LEGACY
DLI Swahili Basic (1966) / DLI Swahili 12-Week (1963)
None of the (a) Yojik, (b) Live Lingua Project, or (c) JLU-Archives websites have a DLI Swahili Basic course posted. Nevertheless, at least a portion of the PDFs for these courses are available on the ERIC website. These would have been audio-lingual courses. There are a few offers on eBay for DVDs which “might” contain the DLI Swahili Basic course, but ordering a copy would be truly buying a pig in a poke.
FSI Swahil An Active Introduction (2nd ed., 1968) - Indakwa, J. et al
Linguaphone Swahili (1950’s)
There are a few traces on the internet of a Linguaphone Swahili course from perhaps the early 1950’s which may have been an authorized reprint of Teach Yourself Swahili. As far as I can tell, the audio files would have fit on a single audio cassette. Although the course is out-of-print, earlier this year, Linguaphone U.K. announced that it was prepared to sell copies of its courses going as far back as the 1950’s, presumably digitized.
Peace Corps Swahili (1994)
The Yojik hosts a Peace Corps Kiswahili course: regrettably, no audio compent. The ERIC website hosts, or makes references to, additional Peace Corps files for this language.
Spoken Swahili (1979) by Anthony J. Vitale - Spoken Language Services
254 half-sized pages, 6 audio cassettes, embryonic audio-lingual method.
Swahili Resources: CONTEMPORARY
Assimil Le swahili (2011) / Le swahili sans peine (2004) by Racine-Issa, Odilev – Assimil Inc.
Although the Customer Reviews on Amazon.FR are not numerous, they are generally quite positive, as are the few references to this course on the HTLAL.
DLI Headstart2 Swahili – U.S. Armed Forces Defense Language Institute
U.S. Armed Forces Swahili familiarization course.
Living Language Spoken World Swahili (2007) - Random House
The Living Language “Spoken World” series of courses took the same approach as did this publisher’s “Ultimate” series. The former focused on the not-so-frequently studied languages and contained 6 CDs whereas the latter contained 8 CDs. Generally speaking, these courses have been very well-received on the HTLAL and by Amazon customers. Level upon completion would be CEFR A2+
Pimsleur Swahili Level 1 – Simon & Schuster
Routledge Colloquial Somali (2015) by Martin Orwin (later: Lutz Martin, Donovan Lee McGrath)
Generally speaking, this course has been very well-received.
Teach Yourself Swahili (2012) by Joan Russell - Teach Yourself Books
There are a couple of editions of this work. For the most part, the Amazon Customer Reviews have been quite positive.
U.S. Army Special Forces 200-Hour Familiarization Course: Swahili
Swahili Resources: SUPPLEMENTARY
DLI GLOSS Swahili – U.S. Armed Forces Defense Language Institute
U.S. Armed Forces files for reading/aural/oral practice in Swahili. At present, a total of 62 lessons ranging as high as Level 2+ are available.
These files are not a course per se. Rather, they are a set of 3,000 sentences using SRS techniques for increasing automaticity. It is assumed that the user already possesses a level of CEFR A2.
NFLC (National Foreign Language Center) Swahili files
The NFLC presently hosts a collection of 175 files (reading, listening, video) for the supplementary practice of Swahili at the intermediate level. Access to the files is subject to a monthly subscription of 5.00 $US which can be cancelled at any time.
Online Resources: Innovative Language, Language Transfer, Swahili Pod101
Online, very basic introductions to Swahili words and phrases.
Swahili Learners' Reference Grammar (2001) by K.D.Thompson, A.F Schleicher– U.S. Department of Education
A 391-page reference grammar freely available on the U.S. Government’s ERIC website.
Swahili language and culture LINKS - lonweb
Links 4 Languages
leosmith wrote:Per this thread, I have begun developing what is to be a set of at least 100 six minute passages in Tanzanian Swahili. As of this post, 18 are finished and 22 are in work. I expect to have 100 done by the end of January or so; I need them for myself by that time frame, so I am motivated to get it done
Each conversation has audio and a transcript. They are one-on-one conversations between native speakers; some are 2 males, some 2 females and some mixed. They are completely free and can be found here at Language Tools. You have to register to see them, but registration is free and easy. Karibuni sana!